Hong Kong’s travel restrictions continue to hamper its MICE prospects, but meeting planners are beginning to source venues for larger meetings, indicating a growing interest in the destination.
These are the key findings from a recent webinar focusing on Hong Kong, entitled Sourcing Trends on the Future of MICE, hosted by The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).
Webinar panellists included moderator Sonnia Singh, managing director at HSMAI India; Presley Barretto, senior regional sales manager at Cvent; Mikael Bouchet, senior corporate director commercial, APAC at Rosewood Hotel Group; and Glen Grosic, managing director at HSMAI SEA.
Data from Cvent’s planner sourcing survey from July, showed an increase in requests for proposals (RFPs) for Hong Kong, according to Barretto.
“The type of RFP coming through is no longer just a meeting space RFP-only – there's a shift in paradigm and there are more bedroom requests coming through as well,” he said.
“It shows a very big positive trend that meeting planners are moving away from the traditional sourcing we saw during the pandemic – essentially 10 to 15 people, which gradually increased to about 25 people. Now meeting planners are a little bit more comfortable in sourcing venues for 25 to 50 people, and 100 to 200.”
Now meeting planners are a little bit more comfortable in sourcing venues for 25 to 50 people, and 100 to 200.
Presley Barretto, senior regional sales manager, Cvent
Yet, despite Hong Kong's recent ease in its Covid-19 requirements for visitors arriving from overseas, reducing mandatory hotel quarantine time from seven days to three and the next four days spent under medical surveillance, Rosewood's Bouchet said such restrictions were still "going against" Hong Kong’s appeal as a destination.
However, Bouchet expressed his hope of seeing more movement in 2023, which would aid Hong Kong’s recovery as a business events destination.
“Hong Kong will emerge as a [must-visit] destination again because so many people haven't been to Hong Kong in such a long time - this is going to help recovery,” he said. “There's going to be a lot of initiatives by the local government to promote the destination.”
Bouchet said he believes the hybrid model will remain for some time, driven by the fact that Hong Kong has such close connections to mainland China. He also pointed to how hotels and clients are rethinking meeting spaces and looking at them differently, opting to use high-end suites for product launches as one example.
Cvent’s Barretto said venues within the Asia-Pacific region as a whole could ‘do more with less’, by promoting safe meeting capabilities and keeping their profiles up to date, as well as using technology to streamline their lead management processes.